(SAVANNAH, GA) SAFE Shelter Center for Domestic Violence Services unveiled a local Silent Witness Exhibit will be unveiled on Friday, October 9 at the Forsyth Park Fountain in Savannah. The Exhibit consists of 12 life-sized, red laminated silhouettes, with 11 representing an actual person murdered in an act of domestic violence in Chatham County since 2011, plus one additional figure to represent those uncounted women whose murders went unsolved or were erroneously ruled accidental. Each silhouette also bears a “Plaque for Hearts” chest plate with the story of the person represented.
The Exhibit’s unveiling was held in conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. Crafted by the Bethesda Barn Builders, a dedicated group of local craftsmen who volunteer at Savannah’s Bethesda Academy, the Exhibit is supported by the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department and SAFE Shelter Center for Domestic Violence Services.
“The purpose of this living memorial is to ensure the individuals represented will be remembered not merely as victims, but as people with stories and dreams,” said Cheryl Branch, executive director of SAFE Shelter. “People don’t want to think that they or their neighbor or family member might be abused or be an abuser. They think it is somebody else’s problem or that it will get better on its own, but it never does. Our hope with this exhibit is to give past and potential victims a voice and stop the cycle of abuse.”
In 1990, the Silent Witness Initiative began an education program designed to support an end to domestic violence. It started with a small group of volunteers in one state and has since expanded to all 50 states and internationally. The Silent Witness Exhibit program is a powerful way to honor those whose lives have been lost in acts of domestic violence and to begin the healing process through awareness, education and treatment.
The Exhibit was also intended to help rally community support, not only in grieving the losses, but also by creating awareness and education programs. Following the unveiling, the local Silent Witness Exhibit were displayed at locations across the Savannah area throughout the remainder of the month.
“The stigma of domestic violence needs to step out of the shadows so the community can support its victims and begin working collaboratively to recognize and disrupt the cycle that feeds it,” added Branch.” No one who has been actively involved at SAFE Shelter has been killed by his or her abuser. That is a testament to the power of breaking this vicious cycle. But there are untold numbers of victims who have not sought help out of fear, intimidation and shame. No one deserves to be number 14.”
For more information on SAFE Shelter, visit safeshelter.org or call 912.629.0026. To reach the 24-hour crisis line, call 912.629.8888.
MORE INFORMATION ON SAFE SHELTER
Founded in 1979, SAFE Shelter Center for Domestic Violence Services is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization committed to preventing domestic violence, protecting victims and promoting positive change for families in need in our community. SAFE Shelter operates a 48-bed emergency shelter for victims of intimate partner violence and their children. All services are provided at no cost to the victim regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, immigration status, culture or religion. Leading to safe and stable lives, services include courtroom advocacy, counseling services and case management. In the shelter’s long history, no one who has been actively involved with our services or programs has been killed by his/her abuser. For more information on SAFE Shelter, visit safeshelter.org or call 912.629.0026. To reach the 24-hour crisis line, call 912.629.8888.
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